Welcome to our new Wine Room
Our new wine tasting home in St Andrews, is just 3km up the road from our winery and vineyard.
We are very excited to present our new Wine Room in the heart of St Andrews. Opposite the iconic St Andrews market, nestled in between a Local Baker (for handmade sour dough breads, pastries and coffees) and A Boy Named Sue (for delicious rustic wood fired pizza). There’s also the historic St Andrews Hotel.
So obviously a terrific place to set up shop. We will be doing informative wine tastings of all our wines, with a view to host other local wines and friends (and who knows what else).
We look forward to welcoming you to our new wine tasting home on your next visit to St Andrews.
Everybody loves Crèmant
Another success is 2010 Friends of Punch Crèmant, a more classic style of Australian sparkling made traditional method, and with only chardonnay. The wine spends about five years on lees before release, lending a complex, yeasty bready character to the perfume. The palate offers honeyed brioche and toffee apple richness, with a frisky cut of fancy acidity. It’s a complex, satisfying bubbly’
Mike Bennie GTW magazine Feb-March 2017
We love our Crèmant, you love our Crèmant, anybody who loves sparkling blanc de blanc champagne will love our Crèmant.
Now for the sad part. We have less than two dozen left. That’s right, less than two dozen. The only place we sell it is at our Cellar Door.
The good news, we’re open from 12pm to 5pm this Sunday 30 April 2017 for tasting and sales.
Please join us at our 2130 Kinglake Road St Andrews Cellar Door from 12pm to 5pm this Sunday 30 April, for tasting of all our current release wines including our Close Planted Pinot Noir, all our estate wines and our Friends of Punch wines.
Hope to see you there!
Cellar Door Open second & fourth Sundays in February
Our next open Cellar Door in beautiful St Andrews is Sunday 5 February 12-5pm, at our winery 2130 Kinglake Road St Andrews.
Taste our ten iconic and original boutique wines, made here at our James Halliday FIVE RED STAR winery and vineyard. Meet the Winemaker and enjoy the beautiful views of the Kinglake Ranges. From our 97 point flagship Close Planted through to our new bottle fermented Rurale Pet Nat, there is something for every taste. Our wines are perfect gifts (for yourself or someone else!)
There’s so much to do in the St Andrews and surrounds, why not try another of the nearby boutique wineries or enjoy one of the beautiful walking trails
Hope to see you there,
James and Claire
Every Sunday in September
With Spring just about here, it must mean it’s Punch new release tasting time!
This year, as an alternative to our Spring Punch function, we invite you to a series of Sunday open days. We’ll be hosting these every Sunday in September, from 12-5pm. Come and enjoy the view, the wines and the approachable winemaker.
As you may know, we do not have a permanent cellar door, holding only ONE open day per year for the last ten years. This September gives you more opportunity to taste our wines.
On tasting will be our entire range of wines, including the brand new release 2014 Punch Lance’s Vineyard suite of: Chardonnay (Halliday 95 pts), Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir (Halliday 96 pts) and Close Planted (Halliday 97 pts). 2014 was a very low yielding vintage, with very small production, so this September is your chance to stock up on these wines before they’re all gone!
This Sunday 4 of September is also Father’s Day, why not treat your Dad at our 2130 Kinglake Road St Andrews cellar door for wine tasting, then visit one of the attractions of the wider Yarra Valley. Little Drop of Poison are A Boy Named Sue are just two of the local and terrific restaurants and bars in our locale.
Call Claire (0424034104) or James (0424074234) if you have any questions about our series of Sunday tastings in September.
James and Claire Lance
2013 NEW Lance’s Vineyard Wines NOW ready!
It’s that exciting time of year when we release our latest vintage wines. We’re very pleased to introduce the newest additions to the Punch Family, our:
We premiered these beautiful things at our annual wine tasting afternoon, Spring Punch on Sunday 13 September. All are showing exceptional finesse and power this vintage and all with major cellaring potential.
Both the Pinots deserved a confident 97 points in the latest Halliday. This year they’re remarkably pure, pretty and powerful from the get-go.
As well our Estate wines, say hello to our latest Friends of Punch wines and one from our Elemental natural wine series.
Making their debut for summer, we’re pleased to introduce, our:
The Pinot Noir Rosé (our first) and Elemental Rurale (a Pet Nat Chardonnay and Savagnin–yes Savagnin) are just delicious, perfect for the warmer months and looking absolutely elegant, a delight for the eyes and mouth. The Shiraz a rich wine, with 40% whole bunch providing restained power. Our 2013 Noble Riesling continues the great run of Botrytis years this vineyard has experienced.
Introductions over! So why not introduce yourself to these lovely wines, before it’s too late.
Click here to go to our online wine shop.
We’d also like to thank everyone who attended our annual wine tasting, Spring Punch, on Sunday 13 September 2015, and a special thank you to funk masters The Seven Ups, Argonaut Studio & Associates, as well as national treasure Caterina Borsato from Caterina’s Cucina E Bar. If you want to catch some of the day, we’ve put together a little slide-show here.
Aged Winter Red Special Six Pack
After extensive (and a big thank you to our tasting team) revisiting of some of our bin-ends, we’re very pleased to re-release these for a final hurrah. Our 2009 Friends of Punch Geelong Pinot, Syrah and Quartz Reef Pinot are beautiful winter reds to enjoy fire side. These wines are our very first Friends of Punch wines, made by us from fruit kindly supplied by wonderful friends from some of Australasia’s best vineyard sites. Wines that hold a special place in our hearts for many reasons. After careful cellaring, these wines are now approaching their peak of drinking enjoyment, but still have much future ahead of them.
All three are tasting wonderful, but to save you having to choose, we’re offering these as a mixed six pack, two bottles of each for the price of $200. Visit our online shop to purchase this special offer.
Are you on our Mailing List? Mailing List members receive invitations to events, tastings and special monthly offers, including a special price on this, click here to join.
Restaurants and stockists
Ever wondered where you can purchase a bottle of Punch or Friends of Punch to enjoy with a meal?
We truly believe our wines are best enjoyed with good food, here’s a list of some of the wonderful restaurants and wine shops that support, pour and promote our wine.
East End Cellars
Lake’s Resort Hotel
Anada Bar & Restaurant
Big Spoon Little Spoon
Blackhearts and Sparrows
Builders Arms Hotel
Cutler & Co
Duke of Wellington
Gibsons Wine Bar
Green Park Dining
Hammer and Tong
Harry and Frankie
Hell of the North
Healesville Hotel Pty Ltd
Kappo & Hihou
King & Godfree
La Vita Buona
Lee Ho Fook
Middle Park Hotel
Milton Wine Shop
Cork Crew Cellars
Seddon Wine Store
Smith Street Cellars
Tao Tao House
The Dish at The Royce Hotel
The General Assembly
The Good Table
The Plough Hotel
The Post Office Hotel
The Stag Restaurant
The Town Mouse
The Wine Depository
Underwood Wine Bar
Union Street Wine
Lalla Rookh Wine Store
Rockpool B&G Perth
Pioneers of Pinot Noir
Recently we had the good fortune to participate in the Mornington Peninsula International Pinot Noir Celebration 2015 (MPIPNC15), participating in a forum on Pioneers of Pinot. We’d like to share James’ talk about his family’s early work with that heavenly wine variety, Pinot Noir.
“Hi, my name is James Lance, from Punch. I’m here today to tell the story of my parents, and particularly that of my father – David Lance. He was amongst the early wave of Pinot Noir resurgence in the Yarra Valley, and I am now continuing this journey.
Let’s go back.
David Lance grows up in Ballarat, in a family that drinks Australian table wine with meals.
As a young man, he travels to Canada to study, where he is introduced to, and falls in love with European wines.
In 1969 David, his wife Catherine, and their young family return to Australia, settling in Melbourne. David now has a PhD in Chemistry, and a burgeoning fascination with wine. So he finds a job at Carlton and United Breweries of course!
Here at CUB he befriends two other wine-like-minded people – Martin Grinbergs and Alex White. They begin by making wine at home, often in an old bathtub. But they face the same hurdle as home winemakers everywhere – where can they source high quality grapes?
Now let’s quickly sidestep to the Yarra Valley, on Melbourne’s doorstep. Internationally renowned for its table wines during the second half of the 19th century, but virtually dormant during the 20th. Until some enthusiasts, spurred by the vinous history of the region, began planting grapevines again from the late 1960’s onward.
On a fateful Autumn day in 1973, the three CUB friends set out along the Maroondah Highway into the Yarra Valley, in search of grapes for their bathtubs. Beside the road, picking was underway on a new harvest of the freshly replanted St Huberts. After enquiring about buying some grapes, the 3 got talking to the owner, Ernie Cester. Ernie was looking for winemaking advice. The 3 agreed. By the following vintage – 1974 – David, Martin, and Alex were the winemakers at St Huberts.
The 3 each searched for their dream vineyard site. David found his in the hamlet of St Andrews, across the Christmas Hills from Yarra Glen. The site was sloping, the soil profile thin and riddled with rock, providing protection from both waterlogging and frost. The elevation was high at 250m, allowing the natural ampitheatre of the hills to catch sunlight without excessive heat.
David and Catherine bought the property in 1975, began to build their home, and to plan their vineyard. But which varieties to plant?
How about Pinot Noir? David loved the red wines of Burgundy. On paper the Yarra, and their new vineyard, should be very well suited to Pinot Noir. Both Yeringberg and Mt Mary had planted Pinot in the late 60s. So David approached John Middleton of Mt Mary, collecting cuttings in winter ‘75, and planting in ‘76.
The first tiny vintage was picked in 1980. David and Catherine named their new wine label “Diamond Valley Vineyards”, in honour of the Diamond Creek, which wound it’s way past the base of the property. In a telling sign of the times, the back label of the Pinot informed “Pinot Noir is the red grape of Burgundy”!
The Pinot Noirs of Diamond Valley went on to enjoy great successes through the 1980s. However David wondered if they couldn’t be improved further, beyond the adjustments in viticulture and winemaking that were already being trialed. He read “Sunlight into Wine” by Richard Smart. Combining these ideas with their hands-on grapegrowing experience, David and his then vineyard manager Morris Watson sat down one night in 1989 to design their perfect Pinot Noir vineyard.
By the end of the night they had used logic to re-invent the wheel.
The design was simple – plant the vines, and the rows, very close together. David found the smallest practical tractor available, 1 metre wide, so the rows would be spaced at 1.2 metres. He decided on a 1 metre vine spacing. The small one-quarter hectare plot on the property was planted later that same year.
The first minute crop was the 1992. The wine was named “Close Planted”, and on the back label it was described as our “experimental block”.
The experiment worked.
From early on it became very clear that the Close Planted fruit had more concentration, more depth, and more tannin than the older Pinot Noir block.
I started working in the winery with my father for the 1993 vintage. I fell head over heels in love with the work. Grapegrowing, winemaking, tasting, thinking, learning, it was all exhilarating. And Pinot Noir, it quickly became my favourite red wine, and the variety I most enjoyed struggling with.
After 5 vintages at Diamond Valley, I was fortunate enough to work a vintage in Burgundy, at Domaine Dujac, where I learnt a vast amount, both from the Dujac team, and from visiting the cellars of their friends.
From tasting the fruit at harvest, I could now see why whole bunch ferments worked so well for them, and less well for us at home. Their stalks tasted different: nutty, spicy, and without green flavours. Upon my return we reduced the level of whole bunch in our Pinots, waiting for the correct stem flavours.
In 2005 David and Catherine sold their beloved Diamond Valley brand, but none of the real estate. Immediately my wife Claire and I leased the vineyard and winery from my parents, and began our new label – Punch – as the new step in the journey.
The Black Saturday bushfire burnt through our property in February 2009, destroying that year’s harvest. Fortunately for us, vines are very tough creatures! Only 10% of the vines needed replanting, and the damage to the Close Planted was minimal. Enough fruitful buds survived the flames to grow a tiny harvest in 2010.
When we harvested this 2010 Close Planted, I had a very pleasant deja vu. Tasting the stalks, there were the flavours I remembered from Dujac – fully ripe, delicious! So for the first time we made our Close Planted with 100% whole bunches. The resulting wine had so much power that for balance we matured in all new oak – one whole barrique.
So in front of you is a very special wine for us, a Phoenix wine, that has heralded a change in direction for our Close Planted winemaking in all the vintages since.
I hope that you enjoy it!
Happy as Punch
So after a lot of work our new website is now live!
The new site is much easier to use and is fully responsive, so it will work perfectly on tablets and mobile devices. The entire Punch wine portfolio is now easily categorised
so you can read and compare reviews or pricing within the various tiers with ease.
We also now have a page called ‘Keep Up to Date‘ where (you guessed it) we’ll be posting news about the winery, upcoming events and latest releases. Finally, the new Shop is now open and is the perfect place to stock up on all your favourite Punch wines.
The site was designed and built by Argonaut Studio with photography
by the lovely Earl Carter.